Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: On the Outside Looking In

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I've been married to "Tina" for 32 years, and we have no children. My wife has an identical twin sister, "Gina." Aside from looks, however, there is nothing identical about them.

Gina has been married and divorced twice. She has two kids from her second marriage. She is loud and brassy, and drinks too much. She hasn't had a date in years, and, apparently, has given up trying to land another man. Instead, she has decided the only companion she needs is her sister.

Gina has drawn Tina out of our marriage. She is needy and manipulative, and Tina is vulnerable to her tactics. She thinks Gina can do no wrong. The two of them are together almost every day, they travel together, and Tina has become a second mother to Gina's kids, which means my wife has children, but I don't.

When Tina and I are away from her sister's sphere of influence, we get along fine. Gina has been the only serious obstacle in our marriage. Counseling helped for a short period of time, but the situation is now back firmly in its groove.

No marriage is a match for the twin bond. The problem is that the resentment I feel for Gina has now spilled over onto Tina, and our relationship is teetering. Is there a support group that deals with marital problems caused by twins? I can't be the only victim. -- On the Outside Looking In

Dear Outsider: Close siblings, twins or not, can be problematic for some spouses. The crux of the issue is that you dislike Gina, which we understand, but it is not a feasible solution to cut her out of your life entirely. A healthy marriage can withstand these pressures. If you think your wife is neglecting you because of Gina, please go back to the counselor and try again.

Dear Annie: My father has had a drinking problem for many years. While he is good to us kids, he is pretty nasty toward my mom. I have seen her cry many times, and this hurts me.

Mom says she loves my dad but wishes he would get help. He says that he goes to work every day and pays all the bills, so he doesn't need help. I know my parents haven't slept in the same room for over a year. Dad always comes home drunk and passes out on the couch.


Six months ago, I found out my mom is having an affair. Should I tell Dad? If the affair makes my mother happy, is it wrong to take that away from her? Is it possible that she still loves my dad, or is she just staying with him because she can't afford to raise me and my sisters alone? -- Daughter in the Middle

Dear Daughter: We don't know how your mother feels, but we do think you should not become involved in your parents' marital difficulties. You are not responsible for their happiness. It might help, though, if you had a shoulder to cry on. Try your school counselor, and also look into Alateen, for children of alcoholics, at or 1-888-4-AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666). Hang in there, honey.

Dear Annie: This is in response to "Sun City, Arizona," who asked about the bridal dance when there is no father involved.

My mother is a widow, and I, too, was once in a quandary about who would give me away at my wedding and dance the first dance. Not anymore. My mom has been both mother and father to me for 23 years, and I was proud to have her walk me down the aisle and dance with me. Her love and support made up for my growing up in a single-parent home. So, "Sun City," make this your new custom. I have a feeling it would make your dear husband proud. I know my dad would have been. -- Lori in NYC

Dear Lori: Many brides wrote to tell us they danced with their mothers at their weddings and were thrilled to have such a warm and wonderful memory.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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